This Ramadan, Weave Into The Labyrinth of Love

A/N: Few parts of this post has been inspired from Grey’s Anatomy. But this post is ENTIRELY a personal reflection and conveys NO scholarly guidance whatsover. Please take any good that you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

When Ramadan arrives, you will reach out to others to ask for forgiveness, the angels will ask for forgiveness for you, you will worship Allah the whole month to attain His Forgiveness. But there is someone else’s forgiveness you don’t want to miss out on.

Your own self.

This Ramadan,

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for everything you have done.

Forgive yourself for messing up again.

Forgive yourself for losing it despite promising yourself you won’t.

Forgive yourself for seeing it again, for saying it again, for listening to it again.

Forgive yourself not taking good care of yourself.

Forgive yourself for hating yourself.

Forgive yourself for every unkind gestures you have made to yourself.

Forgive yourself for every hateful, hurtful, atrocious incessant chatters of the mind.

Forgive yourself for every unkind, every self deprecating, every self loathing remarks you have said to yourself.

Forgive yourself for not being good enough for yourself.

Forgive yourself for falling short of your own standards.

Forgive yourself for falling short of Allah’s standards, for without the shadow of a doubt, He has (God willing, inshaAllah).

Forgive yourself, not because you are deserving of it, but because you can. Because you have the ability to. Because your virtues are greater than your vices.

Forgive yourself just enough to remind yourself  of what you are missing,

Forgive yourself so you can remind yourself that you are a simple, ordinary human being, created and meant to live in a world of extraordinary difficulties. Forgive yourself because You were created a human, so no one expects you to walk on this earth as an angel.

Forgive yourself, because even though you might have done terrible things, that does NOT in any way, shape or form mean you are a terrible person.

Forgive yourself because the Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin Allah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek the forgiveness of Allah and He would forgive them.”(Source: Sahih Muslim 2749).

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself, so for the first time in your life, you can feel the warmth of your own love. The love which has sustained so many around you, brought sunshine in the darkest of days, radiated hopes and faith right in the middle of despair, let that love consume you. Let your love, your kindness, your compassion for no one but yourself fill every atom of your soul, because you cant expect to receive love if you are incapable of loving your own self first.

Forgive yourself, so you can love yourself, so you can heal yourself. Healing love is powerful, because that’s when you make discoveries, that’s when you bring changes, that’s when Allah opens doors, because that’s when you are ready to receive . Your heart  and soul are aligned and synced, they have moved past the past, ready to receive from His unlimited bounty.

Forgive yourself, and instead show mercy to yourself.

Forgive yourself. Take all that pain, all that agony, all those memories, and  turn them into possibilities. Turn them into strength, into unwavering faith and unfaltering hope. Turn them into courage, courage to get up one more time, and then once more, until the doors finally open.

Forgive yourself, because you matter, because your forgiveness matters. It matters to your heart, to your soul, to your entire being, to your ultimate existence as someone Allah has lovingly created with His own Hands.

Buy yourself that favorite outfit, treat yourself that favorite flavor of coffee, savor yourself that foot massage, make that decision, take that step, whatever you need to do to amend your relationship with yourself, do it. Begin Ramadan on a different note this year. Begin with compassion, with kindness, with gentleness, to no one but to yourself.

Yes you, the one who is in His eyes.

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Great Expectations: Istighfar

(A/N:Istighfar=Asking for forgiveness from Allah)

When I started my daily Istighfar challenge in November with 2 other friends, Alhamdulillah I did see things happen in life. As usual they start with little miracles and progressively increase, of course by will of Allah. HOWEVER, as months passed, I felt that my Istighfars were not really working as well, in terms of manifestations, or at least as I would expect. I have heard stories of so many people having mountains moved in days or weeks just by doing Istighfar, so my expectations were similar to that level. So at the end of 3 months I actually sat down and reflected over the Istighfars that I was doing.

I realised that when I started doing Istighfar, I took it up as one of the many things I was already doing as a challenge, for eg Gratitude Journal ( G Journal), Tahajjud (Night Vigil Prayer) etc. If I can be honest with myself, my hidden mentality was ” I am already doing so many things,  might as well add Istighfar to it. Doesn’t harm to try it out.”  I was doing my Istighfars half-heartedly, and as a result I felt my life was also moving half-heartedly.

Now, ‘half- heartedly’ doesnt mean I wasn’t focussed. I was paying complete attention to my Istighfars as much as I could, I would think of the mistakes I would make throughout the day and ask forgiveness for those. “Asking for forgiveness” isn’t what I was making the mistake in. My mistake was in my “half-hearted intention”. I wasn’t putting the absolute intention, having absolute conviction, absolute expectations of things changing from my Istighfars. I was not putting as much care in my intentions as I was putting in the physical efforts of counting the beads to do Istighfars. It was more like a chore. I was doing it as one of the “many things” that help with answering of dua. In fact, I wasn’t really putting as much expectations from my Istighfars as I was perhaps putting from Baqarah or G Journal. (That’s what happens when we take too many things in our plate and then crash with them altogether, net final result being zilch. That’s why the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him said Allah loves deeds which are regular, albeit small.)

So my take away from all of this is that, for getting solid results from Istighfar, we need to be mindful of the intention behind doing them, and the results that we are expecting, along with being genuine in our repentance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, because Allah Himself has “bribed” us with so many incentives to do Istighfars (you can read up here for details prescribed in the Quran as Istighfar benefits). If He didn’t want us to have them, why would He promise?

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I personally felt that we need to realise that sometimes years of  delay wash away our motivation and strength to “get up one more time and try this one more time, when all else has failed”, and that’s why we often miss the results. Its incredibly easier said than done, I know! But that’s also why I usually try to give myself shorter deadlines. For eg, set a certain number of days to focus on Istighfar, and then write down all the changes that happen. (Writing is always more powerful that keeping tabs in mind, the latter is what most of us do unfortunately, including myself.) That helps establish the faith in extending that challenge to more number of days ( I have done that with G Journal, Baqarah and currently on Istighfar).

Read the verse above. Allah will not change out condition until WE change whats inside of us. So not only is the pre-requisite for external change is a shift in our inner mindset, but also that inner change has to be brought about by us. YOU need to change your insides for Allah to change whats on your outside. Its simple but not always easy, and thats why we take baby steps. Allah appreciates those baby steps and rewards us, giving us the strength and courage to take the bigger, “adult” steps. You become happy, give Him thanks, and He gives you more.

And the cycle continues.

A/N: Nothing mentioned here are a scholarly opinion and are intended to be taken only as reflections to strengthen faith. As always, take any good you get and leave the rest to collect dust❤️

And please do remember me in your duas, that Allah opens my doors that I am asking Him to open. Thank you for reading ❤️❤️

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Reflections On La Hawla Wala Quwata and Dua Manifestations

Recently I came across few stories where people who had been in a lot of hot water, waiting for their duas to come to fruition, finally got their wishes fulfilled by Istighfar, Night Prayers and Reciting La Hawla Wala Quwata Illa Billah (There is No Power or Might except Allah). Difficulties ranging anywhere from waiting for decades to be married, to marrital troubles, not being able toget pregnant, financial predicaments or mental wellbeing, all were resolved with the above formulae, by the permission of Allah. The stories are from today’s time, not from the pious precedessors.

Its not surprising though. When we go through difficulties and see no possible way out- it is true. In the realms of our limited perceptions,in the confinements of possibilities of this world, more often than not the doors are closed. More often than not there is no possible solutions to our problems, atleast in the perceptions of our mind. And that is when Allah sends us help from Jannah. He opens the skies by virtue of istighfar (please refer to The Quran’s Surahs Nuh and Hud for details) or makes a key in the heavens and sends down to the earth (ref to the hadith mentioned above on La Hawla). That is when “out of the world” experiences happen, literally and figuratively! When you tap on the treasures of Jannah, the pearls drop on this world. It has always happened, and still happening.

P.S. I Am Sorry: A Pristine Forgiveness

We all know that seeking forgiveness of Allah (Istighfar) is a huge gateway to relief by having our prayers answered, and the chief prayer for forgiveness is Sayyidul Istighfar. (For details about benefits of Istighfar or know more about Sayyidul Istighfar virtues please refer to scholarly sources.)

I have been reciting this prayer for a while, and over the time I have realised that this prayer has taught me about forgiveness what no one or nothing else taught before. Whenever I have to forgiveness, this prayer sums up everything I feel like telling Allah ( I am someone who always has to speak to Allah in my own words, otherwise I feel incomplete). But this is the only prayer which does that job for me. So I thought I will share how it speaks to me, perhaps it might benefit those who are looking to have their prayers answered. It might add little more sincerity to your prayer, so forgiveness becomes more of a conversation than a plain chant or chain of thoughts about how ” sinful you are”. (The words in Italics are basically what I mean when I recite the respective lines in Bold).

O Allah, You are my Lord, none has the right to be worshiped except You,You created me and I am Your servant

” Oh Allah, you know how I am, because You created me. You created my mind, my brain cells ( our chain of thoughts come from brain cells firing them), my personality, my weaknesses. There is nothing about me or my evils of my lower sinister self that are hidden to you, because you have created every flesh, every cell of every fiber of my being. So you know how I am. I cant help thinking certain things, feel certain emotions; I cant stop worrying  about the future or have those doubtful thoughts, because they are part of my creation from you, Oh my Creator.

and I abide to Your covenant and promise [to honor it] as best I can,

Despite all my weaknesses and limitations, I do whatever I can, however I can. My weaknesses weigh me down, bring me down, but I still try to climb up. They bring me down 3 cubits but I am able to climb back up only 1, before they again pull me down. But still I do it, because that is the best I can, and you know it because you created me and my potential.

I take refuge in You from the evil of which I committed

But I am not proud of my weaknesses. Even though they are part of me and I have no immunity against sinning, I am not proud of them at all. I want to do better so I am asking you to protect me from them.

I acknowledge Your favor upon me

And I am aware of the blessings You shower upon me despite my sins, my mistakes, my weaknesses and limitations. I am aware that you do understand my situation and I thank you for understanding that my sins don’t necessarily make me evil.

and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me,

So therefore forgive me.”

for verily none can forgive sins except You.

A/N: This is merely a personal reflection and NOT to be referred to as an alternative to scholarly works.

I hope and sincerely pray that this will help open the doors you have been desperately knocking. Please take only the good that you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

Remember me in your prayers as well, that Allah opens my doors that I have been knocking. I could really use your prayers, by the permission of Allah. ❤️